The doctor will first want to confirm that the hair loss is due to an excess of androgen in the system or a sensitized "over-response" to normal amounts of androgen. Therefore, physicians often choose topical treatments, which are applied directly to the scalp.
Beginning treatment as soon as possible after the hair loss begins gives the best results, because prolonged and rogenetic alopecia may destroy many of the hair follicles. The use of anti-androgens after prolonged hair loss will help prevent further damage and encourage some hair regrowth from follicles that have been dormant but are still viable.
Stopping treatment will result in the hair loss resuming if the androgens aren't kept in check in some other way. Maintaining your vitamin and mineral levels helps while you're on anti-androgen medications.
Currently there is only one FDA-approved treatment for female pattern hair loss. Others have not been approved by the FDA for this particular application, but have been approved for other applications and are used "off-label" to treat hair loss.
The effectiveness of these agents and methods varies from person to person, but many women have found that using these treatments have made a positive difference in their hair and their self-esteem. As always, treatments have the best chance of being effective if they are geared to the cause of the hair loss as well as to triggering hair growth.